title: A Christmas Promise
author: Mary Balogh
published: December 1, 1992
first lines: The Earl of Falloden glanced at the visiting card resting on the salver his butler held extended toward him. He frowned.
rated: 3 out of 5
A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.
Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.
Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.
Christmas is almost here! It’s a rainy Saturday morning and I thought I’d post my thoughts about my latest read and get some blog hopping in too. We’ll be visiting my parents tomorrow for gift exchanging and dinner and then Christmas day will be spent home cooking, baking and relaxing. I plan on wearing my pajamas all day.
Onto my review, I picked this one apart a little bit because it was just that kind of read. I both liked and I disliked it.
Here we have Eleanor Transome who is a single child and her father is wealthy from having made his fortune as a coal merchant. Ellie and her family are considered working class or cits and although they have money they are looked down upon by the ton who are born into their wealth and status.
Randolph Pierce is the Earl of Falloden and he is broke after inheriting his cousin’s estate and gambling debts. The debts are so bad he can’t pay them all off in his lifetime. Ellie’s dad makes Randolph a.k.a Randy a proposition, marry Ellie and his debts are all paid in full. Ellie’s dad is dying of cancer and he wants to make sure his only daughter is taken care of before he passes away and he also wants to see her accepted as part of the ton and marrying the Earl will get her in. As part of the marriage agreement, Randy is to consummate the marriage on the wedding night and he is to live with Ellie for at least one full year.
These two dislike each other instantly, Ellie hates that Randy is marrying her for her money and Randy sees Ellie as a cold-hearted woman who just wants to rise up in high society. Both have other love interests but there are issues that won’t allow for marriages with those relationships and Randy has a mistress as well.
Randy takes Ellie to live in his estate in the country for one year and he tells her to invite a few family members over for Christmas which is just around the corner. To spite him, she invites over twenty people. This is when these two finally start to know one another as they let their guards down. This was mainly a story about misconceptions and class status, with some snowball fights, a Christmas play and loud family members mixed in.
Here the snow remains white as it is meant to be. And it hangs on the trees and blows into snowbanks to the delight of children of all ages and can be traversed only by sleigh-with jingling bells, of course.
p.107, A Christmas Promise
However, my main qualm with this book was that the sex scenes were off, all expect for maybe one which was less painful to read. Randy was a jerk in the beginning and this was hard to get past. I read Christmas at Conwenna Cove last month and there was no sex in it at all and it was such a great read, proving that sex scenes can be optional in romance.
On their wedding night Randy, knowing Ellie is a virgin, decides to teach her a lesson and make it last as long as possible and be rough so she will never want to do it again. Ellie admits to herself later on that she was terrified that night.
He would make all her future days one of anxiety, wondering if she must face this again when the night came.
p.47, A Christmas Promise
He remembered the night before with renewed shame. He had never handled even a whore with such roughness as he had used on his wife.
Randy feels bad the next day and wants to apologize to her but her coldness towards him makes him stay quiet yet again. This happens early on and surprisingly enough Randy redeems himself as the story flows making him a likable character in the end.
Ellie decides to be stone cold yet challenging towards Randy from the start and she doesn’t back down or show warm feelings so the two argue often.
Her heart and her soul belonged to her and he would never be permitted a glimpse into either.
p.149, A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh
She’ll pick fights with him just to get him going. Sometimes he takes the bait, sometimes he doesn’t. I actually liked this about Randy’s character, the way he would sometimes hold off and just watch Ellie and try to figure her out. He does this often throughout the story, he is surprised to find himself wanting to get to know the real Ellie and he likes her family once they come to visit. He realizes his upbringing was lonely and uptight compared to hers. I found that Balogh developed her characters well and I liked that alot.
I love this quote and it happens as Randy starts to change for the better:
He could no longer feel like an unmarried man. And it was not just her presence in his home. It was her presence in his conscience.
p.86, A Christmas Promise
Like I mentioned, I found A Christmas Promise had its good parts and its bad ones. Some of it was very sweet and romantic and this makes me want to try this author again.
I enjoyed seeing these two fall in love and it happens slowly which was nice. And ironically it ends with them fully in love and about to go to bed together, but we don’t get to see it so I’m hoping it was finally good. They make it seem like it was about to be great so…
How do I love you? With my body. With my heart. With my soul.
I want to read this author again, I have a feeling I’ll enjoy her other books more. I’m not sure if I want to start with Only a Kiss (A Survivors’ Club Novel) or with Slightly MarriedI’ve heard good things and they both sound good.
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh.